Alexander Graham Bell, by Unknown, c. 1910s, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), Scottish-born inventor, scientist, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, lived for many years in Washington, D.C., and died in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. As a young man, he consulted physicist Joseph Henry, the first Smithsonian Secretary, about the feasibility of his telephone invention and was greatly encouraged by Henry. He considered Henry as an important mentor and supported the Smithsonian in many ways. Bell served as a citizen member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, provided seed money for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, donated collections to the National Museum, and arranged for the move of James Smithson's remains from Genoa, Italy, to the Smithsonian Institution in 1904..